Are Job Search Expenses Tax Deductible?

October 12th, 2018

Navigating a job search is notoriously time-consuming, but it can also be expensive. The old saying ‘You have to spend money to make money’ often rings true when looking for work.

As one of the top Seattle accounting temp agencies, Provisional Accounting understands the strain a job search can place on your finances, but many people don’t realize the federal government offers relief. Even if you’re not hired, you might be able to deduct some of your job search expenses from your federal income tax return, as long as you meet a few requirements.

To qualify for a tax deduction, you need to be looking for work in your current field, must not have had a notable break since your last job, and cannot be a first-time job seeker. Expenses reimbursed by an employer or third party are also not eligible.

Three Tax Deductible Job Search Expenses

Assuming you meet the above criteria, job search expenses that fall into these three categories can be reported on Schedule A of your 1040 tax return as miscellaneous expenses. You’re able to claim the costs that total more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.

Resume Costs

The expenses associated with preparing your resume are tax deductible, which can come in handy if you have yours written by a professional. If any employers request a hard copy, you’re also able to write off the cost of mailing your resume.

Travel Expenses

Looking for a new job in a different city or state can add up fast, but thankfully, you’re able to deduct these costs. Expenditures like transportation, meals, and hotel accommodations fall into this category, if the main purpose of the trip is your job search. However, you might still be able to deduct some expenses even if your job hunt wasn’t the main reason for the trip.

Placement Agencies

In most cases, employers pay the fees for a staffing agency. However, if you decide to work with a firm that charges job seekers, you’ll be able to write this expense off.

Need a little help finding your dream job in Seattle? Provisional Accounting is here to assist. Contact us today to access temporary/contract, contract-to-hire, and direct-hire openings with some of the area’s top employers.

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